RegulationCorporate GovernanceCox’s tough approach may influence Europe

Cox's tough approach may influence Europe

Experts have warned that Christopher Cox's first speech as the new chairman of the SEC could influence EU legislation and threaten principles-based guidance

In his maiden address as SEC Chairman, Christopher Cox hailed the US’s
legislative approach to governance as the best in the world – a move that could
influence the governance debate in the EU. 

Patricia Peter, head of governance at the Institute of Directors, said that
Cox’s comments indicated that the SEC would not let up on its prescriptive
approach to governance.

‘The message Cox sent out was that US governance was the best in the world
and that he has no intention of changing it,’ said Peter.  

Philip Keown, a partner in the risk management services practice at Grant
Thornton, said the Cox’s commitment to formal, compliance-based approach was
bound to have an impact on the governance debate in EU, where governance
legislation was due to be implemented.

‘The American capital markets are huge and have a big influence,’ said Keown.
‘The EU is bound to look at the hard line in the US and take some of its
policies on board.’

The EU is in the process of implementing its eighth directive on corporate
governance. The new law is due to come into effect later this year and likely to
introduce stricter regulations, similar to those prescribed in Sarbanes-Oxley.

‘If the US had eased up on its approach to governance, the EU may have been
able to follow a line more akin to current practice,’ said Keown.

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